|Servings||4 - 6|
|Time||prep: 30 min., cooking: 70 min|
Originally, goulash was a shepherd's stew of the Magyars, a people living in Eastern Europe, mainly in the Pannonian plains of Hungary. From there, it started its triumphal march into the world. In Hungary, the term "goulash" is used for soups containing solid ingredients such as noodles, vegetables, or meat cubes. What the rest of the world calls "goulash", in Hungary is called "paprikas" or "pörkölt".
Goulash is a ragout that can be prepared in innumerable varieties with pork, beef, lamb, veal and even horse meat. Beside the meat, which is cut into cubes, onions, garlic and paprika are further important ingredients. Paprika is the spice that adds specific taste and colour to the dish. Most varieties have in common that the goulash is braised slowly and in large quantities. Frequent reheating is said to improve the taste of goulash. The variety I am going to present in the recipe below is the so called Szegedin Goulash. It is a variety in which sauerkraut and sour cream are added to the ingredients mentioned above. Most people believe that the name "Szegedin Goulash" derives from Szeged, a town in Hungary. But in fact, the Hungarian name "Székély goulash" comes from Jozsef Székély, a Hungarian journalist and poet who lived from 1825 to 1895.
I owe my first encounter with the Szegedin Goulash to my mother-in-law's cookbook. My mother-in-law is from Bohemia and married a merchant in Hamburg, where she lived for the rest of her life. As a young woman, she brought all the recipes from her homeland to provide her with some comfort in what some people would call "the Rough North". Bohemian cooking to a great extent consists of the Austrian-Hungarian cuisine.
As my mother-in-law was a dedicated and very good cook, both her friends - she was a generous host - and her family praised her delicious cooking. Being tired of the frequent recipe questions about her meals, she decided one day to create her own family cookbook as a gift to her four children. She gathered the most successful recipes she had cooked during her long experience as a housewife and cook, and there were many of them! The first step was to give the cookbook a structure and to divide the recipes into various chapters such as "starters", "main dishes", or "children's party". She took some of the recipes from various magazines, simply copied them and added to her collection. But most of the recipes she had to write down out of her memory or she had to cook them again. This turned out to be quite challenging, for she actually was a rather intuitive cook. For the first time in her life, she had to pay attention to weighing, measuring and counting accurately all of the ingredients she would use for a meal. The result was a wonderful and very personal cookbook, which for the most part is handwritten. Thus, with "Mamis Schmankerln", as my mother-in-law called her cookbook, she left a unique and unforgettable heritage to both her children and their spouses.
The Szegedin Goulash, one of her favourites, has also become a winter favourite for all members of our family. The following recipe is taken from this cookbook but it is slightly modified.
- 600 g pork shoulder, cut into bite-sized cubes
- 700 g sauerkraut
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 100 g lard
- 1 - 2 tbsp. tomato purée
- 1 1/2 tsp. paprika
- 1 - 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 125 ml sour cream
- salt, freshly ground pepper
- water or beef stock
serves 4 - 6
Heat the lard in a casserole, add the pork and sauté it for about three minutes. Take out the pork and set it aside on a plate. Put the finely chopped onions into the casserole and fry until they become golden brown. Stir in the tomato purée and paprika, and add some water or stock. Then add the meat, bay leaves and garlic; pour in more water or stock and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and cook all for about 70 minutes. Add the sauerkraut after about 30 minutes. Uncooked sauerkraut is supposed to be very healthy because it contains many vitamins. To preserve the vitamins, I recommend to set aside 1/5 of the sauerkraut and to just add it by the end of the cooking process. Finally, add the sour cream, mix it thoroughly with the goulash and serve it on warm plates.
A good side dish for the Szegedin Goulash are boiled potatoes.